Redeveloping Lexington Mall is a major priority for the two newcomers seeking the Urban County Council District 5 seat.
Cheryl Feigel, 61, and Edward Norton, 58, both pledge action to rejuvenate the defunct mall.
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Residents are tired of hearing about Lexington Mall because too many politicians have offered empty promises about the property over the years, Feigel said.
"I'm determined to do something about Lexington Mall this time," she said.
One disturbing trend at Lexington Mall is the growing number of large trucks that are parked on the property, Feigel said.
Feigel said she has some ideas about what should be done about the mall, but wants to talk to the city about them first.
Norton wants the city to put pressure on Saul Centers Inc., the mall's owner, to do something with the abandoned property.
"If possible, we could have a design contest of local architects to come up with a plan that we can present to the owners," Norton said. "There's all sorts of possibilities."
One redevelopment option is to combine Idle Hour Park, a city park that backs up to the mall, with the mall property to create a state-of-the-art athletic complex, Norton said.
Lexington Mall is just one of many issues the two native Kentuckians are stressing in their first Lexington campaigns.
The two will square off on Nov. 4 to succeed David Stevens, one of Lexington's longest-serving council members. Stevens leaves office at the end of the year after having served three terms as an at-large councilman before winning the District 5 seat in 2006.
Inside New Circle Road between Winchester and Tates Creek roads, the 5th District is home to some of the city's older, more walkable neighborhoods, including Ashland Park and Chevy Chase.
Feigel was raised in Lynch in Harlan County and moved to Lexington to attend the University of Kentucky.
Feigel returned to Lexington about seven years ago after two decades in Connecticut and Texas. While in Texas, she served as mayor and a council member in Colleyville.
Her top issues include public safety, traffic, improving parks and repairing the storm and sanitary sewer systems.
"We just don't have enough police officers to do the type of patrolling in the neighborhoods that the voters expect," Feigel said. "Public safety is certainly a big issue with them because they do expect to have patrols in their neighborhoods catching the speeders."
Feigel has raised a combined $18,195 for both the primary and general elections, as of Oct. 20. She has spent $14,440.
Norton, a native Lexingtonian, lives in his childhood home in Ashland Park.
For the last 12 years, Norton has been a field agent for the Knights of Columbus, selling life insurance, long-term care insurance and retirement annuities. Before that, he was a real estate agent for 20 years.
Norton's top issues include public safety, speeding and keeping the city's spending in check.
"I really want to be a good steward of the taxpayers' money," Norton said. "The city needs to streamline services where we can and use our employees where we can instead of hiring so much outside help."
Besides Lexington Mall, another redevelopment site Norton is concerned about is the former Julia R. Ewan Elementary School on Henry Clay Boulevard.
Neighbors want to make sure that whatever replaces the school is compatible with the area, he said.
Norton has collected a combined $17,080 for both the primary and general elections, as of Oct. 3, the most recent campaign finance reports available for Norton. He has spent $10,381.
1. Why are you the best candidate?
Cheryl Feigel: Five years of extensive training and experience, dealing with many of the same issues that Lexington faces, provides me with valuable insight to help solve these problems with new ideas, new energy and a fresh perspective.
Edward Norton: Broad experience, even temperament, high accessibility and dedication to duty make me the better choice for Fifth District councilperson. My only ambition is to answer every call and make every voice heard as I serve the people of my district.
2. What is Lexington's most pressing problem? How would you fix it?
Feigel: The overriding problem, affecting every area of city government, is lack of revenue. A strategic plan for economic development is crucial. I recommend we ask the state to designate ½ cent of Lexington sales taxes be used for economic development.
Norton: Public safety is the basic reason for government. Fiscal responsibility demands budgeting these services without placing an undue tax burden on our citizens. I will work diligently to familiarize the council and mayor with the needs of the 5th District.
3. The city is in the midst of two large capital projects, construction of a Public Safety Operations Center and planning for a new Urban County Government Center. Does the city need these facilities? Please explain.
Feigel: Taxpayers want efficien cy and economy. A new govern ment center, if built, should consolidate all satellite offices into one complex, saving taxpayer money and creating a central and convenient location for all taxpayers to do business with the city.
Norton: I favor a first-class Emergency Operations Center for Lexington, but my first con cern is the ballooning cost of the facility. I'd like to further study any need for a new government center before we abandon the former Lafayette Hotel.
4. The city recently increased the sanitary sewer user fee to pay for projects mandated by the EPA consent decree. Do you support the proposed storm water fee? If not, how do you propose funding the consent decree projects?
Feigel: To our dismay, previous councils failed to prioritize these problems before the EPA finally mandated it by court order. I support the additional fees but would advocate a sunset clause once storm water systems have been corrected and function properly.
Norton: Any additional fee or tax is distasteful to me; however, this is a prevalent problem in my district and the EPA has mandated it be fixed. I believe once this work has been completed, the fee should be phased out.